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Sweden: Melodifestivalen rehearsals kick off

11 March 2010 at 22:05 CET

Starting the rehearsals in the Globen Arena today was one of the biggest stars of this year's final: Darin! The young singer shot to fame at the end of 2004 when he became the runner-up in Swedish Idol. Since then, he has released several albums which all sold gold and platinum in Sweden and have also been successful in the German-speaking countries. He's performing You're Out Of My Life in Melodifestivalen this year, a modern mid-tempo ballad which he performs all alone on stage. Darin changed his clothes from his semi-final performance and is now fully clad in black. The backdrop displays water and two steadycams are in use. Darin gave several passionate performances with a floating white fabrique in the background.

Pernilla Wahlgren is a veteran of the Melodifestivalen having participated in 1985 with Piccadilly Circus, in 1991 with Tvillingsjäl and in 2003 - in a duet with Jan Johansen - with Let Your Spirit Fly . Now she is back with her schlager stomper Jag Vill Om Du Vågar having got one of the last spots for the final in last week's Second Chance round. In Pernilla's performance today, the backdrop showed green colours and she is lifted up by two backing dancers while confetti was swirling around.

Following Pernilla Wahlgren, it was another veteran's turn to enter the Globen stage: Andreas Johnson has participated in three consecutive Swedish final 2006 to 2008. Now he's back in the race and for the first time, he's singing a ballad in the competition We Can Work it Out. The performance Andreas puts on is a calm one with two steadycams in use which are concentrating on the artist's face. After coming second in 2007, will it be Andreas' turn to finally win Melodifestivalen?

Timoteij was one of the big surprises in this year's Melodifestivalen when the four girls - all newcomers! - managed to qualify from the third semi-final of Sweden's biggest TV show. Their infectious Kom is tipped by many as one of the possible winners this year. Today, the girls looked confident on stage with their instruments, and they were backed by 4 drummers. The backdrop was predominantly in pink, black and white which worked very well with the cameras.

Peter Jöback had once participated in Melodifestivalen before, in 1990 when he almost came last with the song En Sensation. Since then, he has become one of Sweden's most selling artists though with lots of platinum disc to his credit. His song in the competition this year, Hollow, is a dramatic ballad with several key changes. Peter is joined on stage by 6 backing singers and lots of coloured lasers around him. When asked by how he would prepare for the final on Saturday, he answered that he'd just like to have fun and embrace the audience.

Ola's Unstoppable is a catchy modern popsong which has - according to the artist himself - lots of energy. Like so many others in this year's final, Ola's a newcomer to the grand final, but he has participated in the competition before, dropping out in the Second Chance round in 2008. On stage, he is accompanied by a piano-player, but the camera's focus is almost solely on Ola who said to that he wants to enjoy his performance on Saturday without putting too much pressure on him. During the last take today, lots of pyro was used at the end of Unstoppable.

Jessica Andersson only made it to the final last week when she grabbed the very last spot with her tender ballad I Did It For Love. Jessica is no stranger to the Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest stage as she represented Sweden in the 2003 contest in Riga as one part of the duo Fame performing Give Me Your Love. Jessica explained to that her song is about a love-story without happy end. Her aim is to concentrate on her performance on Saturday so that it will be performed well. In the rehearsal today, Jessica seemed at ease with the stage and with the cameras, giving several faultless renderings of heer song being accompanied by a cello-player.

Salem Al Fakir was the 8th participant to rehearse today and he was all alone on stage with his piano. He had qualified from the very first Melodifestivalen semi-final this year - which he won! Salem was awarded a wildcard to the competition and lots of experts value his midtempo song Keep On Walking very highly. The background projection used on the floor were very colourful and corresponded well with the song. When asked by about his performance, Salem stressed that he wants to be himself and do a good job.

Anna Bergendahl's song This Is My Life is leading the poll in one of the biggest Swedish newspapers right now and the singer admitted that she is still totally overwhelmed after winning the 4th Melodifestivalen semi-final. Since then, she admitted to, she has practised her song a lot and has also been busy studying since she is graduating soon. Her song This Is My Life is about believing in yourself and the young singer joked that if she made it to the Eurovision Song Contest, she would expect some points from Ireland as part of her ancestry is Irish. In her performance on the Globen stage, Anna was very confident and performed her song faultlessly several times.

Eric Saade's Manboy was another surprise of this year's Melodifestivalen semi-finals when it qualified as the winner of the second heat. The singer also convinced the rehearsal audience today with his performance including a spectacular dance-routine and a highly surprising ending of the song! When interviewed by, Eric said that he was amazed about the support his song Manboy received in Sweden and also abroad.

Watch the video made today after interviewing some of this year's singers In Melodifestivalen!